The West Condemns Afghans to Starvation, by Georgina Higueras

The siege imposed on Afghanistan Since the United States and its allies left the Central Asian country more than four months ago after 20 years of war, it condemns Afghans to a atrocious famine, which is killing the most vulnerable with starvation and cold: children, the elderly and women. Freeze the foreign exchange reserves Afghanistan in the US and development aid it is a shameful revenge against a defenseless people.

The West owes Afghans support for overcome the effects of the coronavirus and the terrible drought, which had already left more than half the population, some 22 million people, food insecure before the foreign troops left. “The levels of suffering and need are staggering,” said Martin Griffiths, UN chief for emergency humanitarian efforts.

What the West should do is prevent Afghanistan from becoming a Failed state, which generates more violence and the flight of millions of desperate people. It is urgent end the cycle of misery and bloodshed that began more than four decades ago with the Soviet invasion and the support of the USA to the Mujahideen insurgency, spiritual and political head of the Taliban.

Time to rebuild. Isolating and sanctioning the Taliban government will only lead to further destruction. If the West is sincere in its concern for the Afghan girls schooling, the future of women and the stabilization of the country, has no other way than to help Afghans and to encourage the UN agencies, the Asian Development Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank to do so as well.

A step in the right direction is the resolution approved on December 22 by the UN Security Council, to facilitate humanitarian aid to Afghanistan for a year. The text also allows those who have left the country send money to their families, but it does not alter the sanctions imposed on entities related to the Taliban.

The Afghan economy isOn the brink of collapse, as is healthcare and education. The flight of thousands of civil servants and the most qualified people of the previous Government has left the State administration in the hands of inexperienced fighters, many of them without studies or preparation to take forward a country gripped by the covid, famine and ignorance . ANDhe interest of the United States and its allies was focused on security, as proof that more than two-thirds of the aid that donors provided to the Government was destined to defense and security. Thus, in 2019 educational programs received a total of $ 312 million – about $ 20 for each of the 15 million Afghans between the ages of 5 and 19 – a ridiculous amount compared to the million dollars a year it cost. to the Pentagon every American soldier during his service in the Asian country.

The dependence on foreign aid, fostered by the US during the two decades of invasion and occupation, has left Afghanistan sunk and without springs to move forward. Civilians turn away from the horror of war and bombing to suffer the siege of hunger.

Afghanistan has one of the highest infant and maternal mortality rates in the worldBut the situation has worsened considerably in recent months. In September a quarter of the 37 hospitals closed their doors from the country. Those that work lack basic equipment and medicines. There is no electricity, no oxygen, no masks, no soap, not even clean water, and as the first snows of the harsh winter fall, some hospitals have asked families to find firewood to heat the rooms. “People are more concerned about hunger than they are about COVID,” says Mary-Ellen McGroarty, Afghanistan director for the World Food Program.

The pressure is expected to lead to taliban to the negotiation table to be commit to respect human rights and to end its policy of gender apartheid. Sanctions, however, have never served to change a regime and the consequences in Afghanistan are so devastating that they are paving the way for the country to become a haven of the most fanatical terrorist groups.

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Enough of punishing Afghans. There is no greater violation of human rights than to let a people die of starvation.

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